As you’re streaking down a mountain filled with fresh pow, the last thing you want to worry about is the biting pain in your nose, cheeks, and ears as frostbite looms its ugly head.
Winter sports are so much fun, a great way to be outdoors, and perfect for keeping active in the height of winter. However, it is crucial to be warm and cozy while enjoying your favorite snow sports. Many budding chionophiles (snow lovers) pile on the layers when it comes to their ski pants, loads of jackets, and appropriate footwear, but the face is often neglected.
Enter ski hoods and balaclavas, your best face protection as you hurtle down the slopes! Let’s take a look at some of our favorites.
Blackstrap Hood Balaclava
When it comes to efficiency, comfort, and weather resistance, the Hood Balaclava is unrivaled. Since its release in 2008, the Hood has been the go-to balaclava for skiers, snowboarders, and snowmobile riders everywhere.
Renowned for its comfortable fit, the Blackstrap Hood has proprietary Exo-Hinge construction, seamless helmet compatibility, and breathable, odor-resistant, 4-way stretch fabric. It also offers a sun protection factor (SPF) of 50+ (UV). With a two-layer design, the inner layer is breathable and the outer layer provides an additional barrier against the wind. The head and neck are made from a single piece of cloth for optimal heat and moisture control.
- SPF 50
- True-to-size, ergonomic fit
- Breathable inner layer
- Some customers experienced fogging
- Loose seal around the nose
Turtle Fur Mount Hood
The Turtle Fur Mount Hood is constructed from two materials that work together to keep you toasty and dry. It is designed to fit over your helmet and has superior stretch and quick-drying properties, allowing you to remain outdoors for longer and shred harder. The Mount Hood’s Comfort ShellTM exterior and Micro FurTM Fleece lining work together to insulate without adding bulk, stretch for improved mobility and ease, and dry quickly. It can even be worn over a standard bicycle helmet, which is a huge plus if biking in winter is your thing.
- Generous fit
- Quick drying and breathable
- Odor resistant
- Overly large adjustment cinches
Anon MFI Hood Clava
The classic ski hood design is updated with a built-in neck warmer for those chilly, wet days. The MFI compatibility and standard sizes provide for a snug, comfortable fit, much like your favorite hoodie.
Because of its innovative magnetic attachment that secures the face panel to any men’s and kids’ MFI-compatible Anon goggles, the men’s Anon MFI® Hooded Balaclava provides the highest level of protection from wind, sun, and cold. Bonded fleece fabric has the stretch of sweatshirt fleece and the breathability of a windbreaker to keep you toasty all winter long. The Anon Clava has detachable magnets that can be washed in the washing machine or taken out of the cap entirely if you choose to use it with a different pair of ski goggles.
- Compatible with all Anon MFI goggles
- Machine washable
- Adjustable bungee cord in a bonded stretch fleece
- Gets wet easily
- Customers reported a tight, stiff fit
North Face Whimzy
When confronting whiteout conditions, stinging winds, or fresh pow, the Whimzy Powder Hood is an essential piece of gear that can be worn under a helmet. It has a 100% recycled fleece body, an adjustable recycled shock cord, and a WindWallTM overlay for a comfortable fit no matter where your day takes you.
Designed for both men and women, it is made of an oversized fleece material that can protect you from the bone-chilling temperatures of winter.
- Safe for use with helmets
- Can be pulled tight around the face using a drawstring
- An oversized, three-piece hood that can be worn under a helmet
- Not true to size
- Very thin drawstring
Nike Pro Hyperwarm
Lightweight and insulated, the Nike Pro Hyperwarm Hood Balaclava is an excellent choice when temperatures plummet. Made of lightweight, insulating fabric that protects the face and neck, this hood is perfect for training days or simply just mucking around in the snow and cold.
Nike has a good reputation when it comes to producing base layers, and that know-how is evident in this hood.
There are several useful features and a strong design on the Nike Pro Hyperwarm Hood Balaclava. Because of its insulating properties, it allows for superior heat retention.This hood is also adjustable and will keep you warm from the top of your head all the way down to your neck. The shape allows it to rest gently on the head, either as a standalone cover or in conjunction with a helmet.
- By wicking sweat away, Nike Therma-Fit ensures that athletes stay warm
- Form-fitting comfort whether worn alone or under a helmet thanks to the flat-seam design.
- Provides coverage for the whole face and down to the neck
- Wearable as a gaiter around the neck
- Stretchy fabric composed of 88% polyester and 12% spandex.
- Out of stock in most places
- Tighter fit than usual
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is A Ski Hood?
A ski hood is a single piece of outerwear that covers the whole head, neck, and face, sealing off all potential entry points for cold air or snow. The material is designed to allow your body heat to be retained while preventing cold air and snow from penetrating it.
To keep your neck and head completely protected, hoods are an excellent choice, and a good hood will take care of all the winter needs for your noggin’.
When Should You Use A Ski Hood?
Skiers, snowboarders, and winter sports enthusiasts will all benefit from wearing a ski hood. An over-helmet hood is a great way to stay warm and dry if you have to spend a lot of time outdoors in the snow and wind during the winter. When worn over a snowboarding or skiing helmet, it provides a smooth surface for protecting the face, ears, and neck. On the slopes, a good hood wouldn’t fly off and leave your head and face unprotected, no matter how many somersaults or spread eagles you do.
When Should You Wear A Balaclava?
A balaclava is a kind of garment that envelopes your head, neck, and most of the face. In contrast to a hood, it is meant to be worn close to the face.
With its ability to be worn under helmets, a balaclava and face mask may be used for a variety of winter activities, including skiing and snowboarding, but its main function is to shield the face from cold temperatures and keep it warm. While skiers and bikers are the most common users, runners use them, too.
Are Ski Hoods and Balaclavas The Same Thing?
While braving the frigid winds of winter, a balaclava or ski mask can help keep your face toasty. Ski hoods provide more protection, while balaclavas allow for somewhat easier breathing. Both fit your head and face snugly, and keep you warm while wicking sweat.
The ski helmet hood is the last piece of upper-body clothing. There is plenty of room in the neck cowl to accommodate a helmet. Using the cinch cord, you can fine-tune the fit of your ski fleece hood so that it does not come in contact with your face.
Do Ski Hoods Fit Over The Helmet Or Under?
Ski hoods are designed to be worn over the helmet. The hood should fit comfortably over the helmet and cover your head and neck while still allowing you to move freely and comfortably. Some ski hoods have a drawstring or other adjustable feature that can help you get a better fit over your helmet. If you are having trouble getting the hood to fit, you may need to adjust the size of your helmet or try a different hood.
Ski hoods are a useful accessory for skiers and snowboarders because they help to keep you toasty and protect you from the elements. The hood covers your head and neck, which are areas that can easily get cold while you are out on the slopes. And, of course, ski hoods can help to block wind and reduce the risk of frostbite or other cold-related injuries. Some also have a built-in face mask or gaiter to provide additional protection from the cold and wind.
Overall, ski hoods are a useful piece of ski gear that can help you stay comfortable and protected while you are out on the mountain, so don’t leave home without one!
Paul Miller is the Founder of Family Skier. He is an advanced skier and has extensive experience with family travel and ski schools. An accomplished skier, he has skied in 15 states and provinces and 6 countries. In addition to FamilySkier, his writing can be found on many ski-related websites, and as curriculum for many ski clubs in North America.